We sought split years ago, say Greens

SPLITTING Kirklees is simply opportunism – and the Tories should apologise for creating the council to start with, a Green candidate has said.

Adrian Cruden, who faces Conservative incumbent Khizar Iqbal in Dewsbury South, welcomed Conservative plans to abolish Kirklees. But he said the Tories were only copying a longstanding Green Party promise to split Dewsbury and Batley from Huddersfield.

He said: “It’s important that decisions are taken at the closest possible level to the people and communities affected by them. That’s why we’ve been calling for our area to be split from Kirklees for years. The Tory plans are therefore nothing new. It was also a Conservative government that created Kirklees. It’s good when people see the error of their ways, but an apology might be in order.”

The Greens are fielding candidates in the three Dewsbury wards plus Mirfield, Batley West, Birstall and Birkenshaw and Liversedge and Gomersal. They have so far failed to win a seat here, but have four councillors in South Kirklees and control Kirkburton Parish Council.

Dewsbury East candidate Tony Kelsall, who faces Labour’s Coun Paul Kane, is against the Local Development Framework (LDF). He said: “The LDF is not needed or wanted. There are alternatives, like redeveloping existing buildings in Dewsbury town centre. But the Toryled coalition Government wants to build hundreds of thousands of new houses every year. (Chancellor) George Osborne is also keen to see development on greenfield land, so voting Conservative is not the answer.”

Gary Kitchin, who is battling Tory incumbent Andrew Palfreeman in Birstall and Birkenshaw, vowed a clampdown on supermarkets. He said: “What makes Birstall and Birkenshaw so special is the way they have both retained vibrant centres. This is largely thanks to the great efforts of small businesses. But they face constant pressure from big retail chains and supermarkets.”

“The Greens will oppose any further expansion of supermarkets. We will instead promote local businesses and local food produce.”

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